powerfilm case study

“When you think of solar, very few people think of Iowa. And when you think of tech implementation, very few people think of Idaho. It was perfect,” laughs Seth Hansen, PowerFilm Solar’s Marketing And Communications Manager. But perception isn’t everything–Hansen and his colleagues saw a natural partnership between the two geographically misplaced companies.

PowerFilm Solar, who specializes in the design, engineering, manufacturing, and assembly of custom solar solutions, was anxious to upgrade the quality of their website search, especially given the amount of content on their site. With a content strategy that emphasized regular publishing and included technical content, they sought to offer value to their users, but knew that, in the absence of good site search, many of their resources were invisible. “Integrating a robust search functionality was critical for us in growing the number of people on the website who have a positive experience. If people have a really poor experience and just leave, that’s the worst possible result. Our previous search function was barely usable,” explains Hansen.

Internally, Hansen and his team were aware that their search struggled to provide the results employees were looking for. “So we knew that, externally, folks were probably having the same experience,” he says. When the project kicked off, functional Keyword Search was their first goal, followed by the ability to organize components so that users could easily find what they were looking for. They liked that Big Zeta’s Parametric Search could be applied specifically to their product line, something Hansen says is important to their technical audience.

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As a relatively small company, PowerFilm Solar is always aware of cost, but was also interested in a relationship that would allow for collaboration throughout the process. “The responsiveness of the folks at Big Zeta was a huge decision maker for us, and that’s just not how everybody operates. We never felt like we were being nickeled and dimed, which was refreshing,” Hansen says. And, although cost is always a concern, PowerFilm Solar acknowledged the need for targeted improvements that make big impacts, and appreciated Big Zeta’s responsiveness and transparency.

Hansen says that the entire process of implementing both parametric and keyword search was very straightforward, but that getting parametric up and running allowed for far more collaboration. “We provided an Excel sheet and made sure the information was accurate, and Big Zeta loaded everything. When we saw things that needed to be changed, we communicated them. It was all very simple–very straightforward–and very fast,” Hansen says. How fast, exactly? Hansen estimates that the entire project lasted a couple of weeks from beginning to end, with the lion’s share of the time spent tweaking the parametric search so that it was customized for PowerFilm Solar’s needs.

“The responsiveness of the folks at Big Zeta was a huge decision maker for us, and that’s just not how everybody operates. We never felt like we were being nickeled and dimed, which was refreshing.”

Since the implementation of parametric and keyword search, Hansen says he’s emailed the Big Zeta team a few times and received prompt and helpful replies. He says the folks at PowerFilm Solar appreciate that they’re not left to fend for themselves. They’re beginning to look at search queries to their site and identify how people are engaging with the tool, which allows a more data-driven approach to their marketing strategy. “Now, search isn’t going to be a reason people bounce from our website. This has been a really positive experience,” Hansen says.

Hansen maintains that, no matter the size of your company, search can make or break the user experience “Oftentimes, you'll engage with a company to do something that you can't do yourselves. And it's not always a positive experience. But this was very simple, very straightforward. It was easy to implement. And I can't emphasize enough the value of being able to have someone or multiple someone's I could send an email to and get a response within 24 hours. If you value that, if you want to be able to reach out to a human and actually engage with them, Big Zeta is it.”

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